7 Reasons Kids Don’t Disclose Child Abuse |Project Eve
For many adults, it’s difficult to understand why a child would ever be silent about the fact they are being abused and not actively seek help. Countless courtroom juries charged with determining the fate of alleged perpetrators have questioned that same behavior, often leading to doubts of the validity of abuse charges or claims. After all, who in their right mind would ever put up with horrible treatment without trying to find refuge or stop it?
In most cases, the sad fact is children will NOT immediately tell someone they’re being abused. As we peel the layers of this onion and try to understand what may seem to be odd behavior to many, please keep these key child abuse facts in mind:
Over 90% of abused children know, love or trust their abuser. So, in the majority of cases, the person harming the child is NOT a stranger and, in fact, may be a caretaker or someone providing the child’s basic needs (i.e., food, shelter, clothing, etc.).
Nearly 65% of all child abuse happens at the hands of a parent, step-parent, relative OR boyfriend/girlfriend of the parent.
Around 40% of child sexual abuse is committed by a family member. The younger the victim, the more likely the perpetrator is a family member: 1) under 6 years of age, 50% of perpetrators were family members; 2) ages 12-17, 23% were family members. (Snyder 2000)
Disclosure is a process, not a one-time event.
It’s extremely common for children to keep abuse to themselves or slowly disclose abuse over a period of time. In fact, 73% of child victims do not tell anyone they have been abused for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years, while still others never disclose their abuse (Smith et al., 2000; Broman-Fulks et al., 2007).